Author Topic: Reflections on Mindfulness.  (Read 184 times)

Offline ralph

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Reflections on Mindfulness.
« on: May 09, 2019, 03:19:40 am »
Tonight is the last night of the trip I took to visit my grandfather and namesake.  Ralph Major, as some of my friends call him, is 96 years old with another ten years of life in him.  He lived through the Great Depression, dropped bombs on Okinawa in WWII, and is now reflecting peacefully in his home in Minnesota as he nears the end of his natural life.  He finds pleasure in simple things -- he has about twenty bird feeders on his property and an encyclopedic knowledge of every winged creature that uses them; he smokes a cigar by the fire every night it's cold enough; he stubbornly takes care of his property despite the fact he'll probably fall off a ladder and die while doing so.

While I was visiting, his neighbor Reid and I did some yard work for him.  Reid is a wonderful guy -- 70 year old retired paramedic, artist, 3 years sober, etc.  He always has a dog that he lets run free (given this is semi-rural Minnesota) and takes regular breaks from hard work to smoke a pipe and ruminate.  While Reid and I were transplanting trees, he imparted some knowledge on me that taught me more about the world than three years of college has so far.

We spoke about (and performed) a Native American ritual that imparts good spirits into plants as we planted them.  You lay out a presentable "dish" -- a sightly leaf, a piece of wood, etc. and sprinkle some tobacco on it.  After doing so, you ask the six natural forces (winds from the four cardinal directions, mother earth, father sky) to bless the plant, then sing a song that was surprisingly easy to pick up despite being in another language.  After your dinner later in the evening, you bring a small amount of food out and bury it next to the plant as an offering.

We performed the ritual I described for every plant we put in the ground that day.  In between working and blessing, Reid and I took time to sit, puff on pipes, and speak about life.  Admittedly, being jaded from growing up in what we currently call a society, I was reluctant to enjoy any of this at first.  After a bit of elbowing on Reid's part, he wore me down and I set aside my cynicism and spoke to him about life.

One thing we agreed upon was reincarnation.  I personally don't believe a god exists that would send you to hell for eternity due to a lifetime of sinning; instead, he'd probably put you in the body of an ant, worm, or punish you with some other equally humbling experience.  On the other hand, Reid believes in the Native American theory of reincarnation: when you die, your soul splits into four pieces and roots itself in four different things.  He told me, for example, that when speaking to old trees, you use native tongues, but when speaking to new trees, you speak English.  I personally hadn't heard of this before and it gave me pause for thought.  Something to ruminate on.

Reid spoke to me about his time as a paramedic.  He worked the job for forty-plus years, and presumably saved thousands of lives.  I didn't ask.  He told me he'd go straight from his landscaping side jobs to working the ambulance (or "the rig," as he referred to it).  He'd administer IVs with his hands still covered in dirt.  "Probably gave them a lot of good bacteria they were lacking," he said.  We spoke about sterilization and super bacteria briefly.  He thinks MRSA et. al. are the first warning signs of the dangerous future of Western medicine, something that will become the norm as our treatments stray further from nature.  Something to ruminate on.

We spoke with each other about stealing.  I personally have no qualms shoplifting from corporate stores as long as it doesn't affect the employees working there.  Who gives a shit if the 7-11 corporation loses $0.89 because I didn't pay for a slushie?  Ried agreed.  According to him, he'd "been stealing for most of [his] life."  In his days working as a paramedic, he hardly had enough money to live.  Instead of buying meat, he'd listen to the scanner in "the rig" for reports of fresh roadkill deer.  When one came in, he and his partner would drive to the scene "faster than we'd ever drive to any call."  He'd surreptitiously load the dead deer into the ambulance and take it home to cook and eat.  Reid asked me what I felt like when I stole.  I wasn't sure what he meant by that.  He elaborated: "stealing is good for the body -- it requires you to be on highest alert possible because of the consequences.  When you're using all your senses that acutely, you're truly in touch with the would around you."  Something to ruminate on.

Ried is also an artist.  He currently paints, but has worked in a variety of mediums.  Due to undiagnosed Lyme disease, a history of alcoholism, and a recent woodworking accident, he can't feel his hands and is missing an eye.  Ried told me, "I started losing feeling in my hands and I thought I wouldn't be able to paint any more.  I lost my eye, I almost died, I thought I wouldn't be able to paint any more.  My paintings are better than ever."  Something to ruminate on.

I don't know what the moral to all this is.  Over the course of an afternoon/evening, I was exposed to a lot of knowledge that made me stop and think about where I was in the world.  The generations before me, my lack of mindfulness and motivation, different ways of looking at life here on Earth.  I don't have any through line for this story.  I suppose I just want to catalogue events that have given me reason to slow down, think, and truly reflect for the first time in a while.

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Reflections on Mindfulness.
« on: May 09, 2019, 03:19:40 am »

Offline Rich Sweet

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Re: Reflections on Mindfulness.
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2019, 07:38:15 am »
Old men used to guide young men. It’s no wonder so many of us feel lost.

Offline PunchingArianaGrande

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Re: Reflections on Mindfulness.
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2019, 11:56:45 am »
The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of us who live in "advanced" countries, but they have destabilised society, have made life unfulfilling, have subjected human beings to indignities, have led to widespread psychological suffering (in the Third World to physical suffering as well) and have inflicted severe damage on the natural world. The continued development of technology will worsen the situation. It will certainly subject human beings to greater indignities and inflict greater damage on the natural world, it will probably lead to greater social disruption and psychological suffering, and it may lead to increased physical suffering even in "advanced" countries.

Ted said it best. Every argument on modern life comes back to Ted. I'm still figuring out how to navigate it because I'm 21. I flip flop between wanting one way of life vs another. There's simply too much to ruminante on. Maybe the best thing is to consume the least amount of unnecessary information and media as we can... Bin your mobile phone. That seems like the only solution. In the short term it's likely to be very difficult and frustrating, because you're really denying yourself a huge, massive resource, and access to so many things that make you feel good, they trigger all the right responses in your brain, you can read about so many things... Maybe we think about too many things, at the expense of thinking about what WE are doing.
Even hipster faggots, who insist they have their own unique identity, are desperately clinging to the idea of maintaining their image, and seeking to be validated. You'll never hear anyone call someone a hipster if that someone doesn't rub their tastes & opinions in people's faces... They'll simply be a person. They won't have an Instagram because they won't need the validation. Sacrificing that validation and opportunity to "express yourself" might seem like a big miss, maybe even social self-sabotage... But if you can get your happiness from yourself, and not others, maybe you'll think less about your image, and you'll actually start living more naturally.
Read this shit: Our brains are adaptable, and they are adapting to this new environment — and as our brains evolve, all we can do is submit to that process. But our challenge is to process how to manage our relationships with smartphones, now and in the years to come.
I read that. I don't even need to go on. It all comes back to Ted. You shouldn't use your phone for more than 30 minutes a day, unless absolutely necessary. I doubt anyone including myself will follow that rule. BYE! BYE BYE! BACK TO SELF SUCK PUSSY CREAM CUMSWAP CUMSLUTS BING BING BING! For me and for you, I promise.

Offline MommyBuster69

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Re: Reflections on Mindfulness.
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2019, 09:17:57 pm »
sometimes you guys make me feel like I'm a different species with all this philosophical gobbledygook.

Offline NeedEvolution

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Re: Reflections on Mindfulness.
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2019, 10:55:23 am »
This is an great post ralph.

Offline Winky(AFK 6 Months)

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Re: Reflections on Mindfulness.
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2019, 06:43:06 pm »

Offline NeedEvolution

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Re: Reflections on Mindfulness.
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2019, 08:12:24 pm »


All of us shit fire, but the most dire and pressing question is why do the building block outlines end at the corners. I know I am speaking for the majority for number one question about this picture.

Offline PunchingArianaGrande

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Re: Reflections on Mindfulness.
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2019, 12:59:18 pm »
They're not real blocks, Italian trickery

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Re: Reflections on Mindfulness.
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2019, 12:59:18 pm »

 


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